On Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” David Brooks and Joe Scarborough took turns criticizing Mitt Romney’s messaging and strategy. Bay Buchanan, who has emerged as one of the Romney team’s most public faces, responded by insisting that her campaign is well-positioned to win:
We are in a dead heat. Nationally, we have two polls showing a dead heat, a tie. And the momentum is ours. You see that the president’s numbers have come down. Mitt Romney’s numbers are coming up.
It’s hardly novel for a campaign to play dumb in the face of discouraging news about its prospects for victory. But as the frustration and panic of conservative opinion leaders grows, the Romney campaign has an extra incentive to try to look like a winner. Over the next few weeks, Republican campaign committees, outside money groups, fund-raisers, and down-ballot candidates will make bottom-line judgments about Romney’s standing that will affect how they allocate their money and how they treat Romney in their messaging.
The risks for Romney are two-fold. One is the simple appearance problem. It’s one thing for the other party to claim that a presidential candidate is flailing and running a poor campaign; that’s standard fare. It’s different, and more problematic, when the media and political world joins in this conclusion – something that Romney has been dealing with for the past few weeks. And it’s even worse when the candidate’s own party joins the chorus, as is also the case for Romney now.
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